Industry News & Trends Recap: June Week 2

Industry News & Trends Recap: June Week 2

Industry News & Trends Recap: June Week 2

In this week’s industry update, wafer manufacturer Siltronic revealed plans to establish a $2.9 billion facility in Singapore and expand its workforce. This development is part of a broader trend of semiconductor companies increasing their presence in the country. Other key highlights include:


Table of contents

  1. Finance Industry News
  2. Investment, PE & VC News
  3. Legal Industry News
  4. Healthcare & Life Sciences News
  5. Luxury & Retail News
  6. Tech & AI News


Finance Sector News

esg, private banking and wealth management news

1. Trend:

Joining Peers’ Interest in Biodiversity, UBS Targets Credit Suisse’s ESG Areas

UBS Group hosted its first-ever conference on biodiversity, signalling its ambitions to grow in this ESG business area. This conference explores ways to finance deals that protect natural capital and generate profits. UBS is working on its first debt-for-nature swaps and exploring carbon and biodiversity credits to create business models for marine-protected areas. The event highlights the growing importance of biodiversity in the finance industry, driven by political and regulatory pressures and increasing private investment in nature. Other players like Standard Chartered have established a nature innovation hub to coordinate efforts across trading, advisory, financing, and risk management functions. Similarly, JPMorgan Chase, Lloyds Banking Group, and NatWest Group appointed senior executives to focus on this business area.

Read the full article about UBS’s interest in ESG.


2. Business Moves

i. DBS Targets Hitting S$500b in Wealth Assets by 2026

DBS Group plans to increase its wealth management assets to S$500 billion by 2026. Last year, DBS’s wealth assets grew 23% to S$365 billion, driven by solid wealth inflows into Singapore. DBS, SEA’s largest lender that serves over a third of Singapore’s family offices, also plans to double its wealthy client base by 2026, having already grown this segment by over 50% in the past two years. Global high-net-worth wealth and population increased in 2023, reversing the previous year’s decline, and wealthy individuals’ risk appetite has improved with a reduction in cash holdings. Wealth management has become a key revenue driver for DBS, which recently posted record-breaking quarterly results and expects to surpass last year’s net profit.

Read the full article about DBS’s plans to grow its wealth management business.


ii. HSBC Hires 300 in China to Expand in China After Citigroup Wealth Acquisition

HSBC increased its workforce in China by over 300 employees following the acquisition of Citigroup’s consumer wealth portfolio. This acquisition includes integrating investment assets, deposits, and clients across 11 major Chinese cities into HSBC’s operations. This move adds to HSBC’s strategy of expanding within the Chinese market and focusing on Asia, its key revenue generator.

Read the full article about HSBC’s interest in China.


iii. HSBC to Become Majority Owner of China Venture Fund

HSBC Holdings agreed to buy an extra 31% stake in a China fund venture, HSBC Jintrust Fund Management, from Shanxi Trust. Upon regulatory approval, the deal, valued at about one billion yuan (S$190 million), makes HSBC the majority shareholder. This move is part of HSBC’s ongoing expansion in China. Recently, HSBC also purchased Citigroup’s retail wealth management portfolio in mainland China and acquired the remaining 50% stake in HSBC Life China. In 2022, HSBC increased its stake in its Chinese securities venture to 90%. This acquisition aligns with HSBC’s strategy to focus on faster-growing Asian markets, balancing its business disposals in France and Canada with acquisitions in Asia.

Read the full article about HSBC’s stake in China venture fund.


iv. Daiwa Securities Raises Stake in Aozora Bank to 24%

Daiwa Securities Group purchased 9.1% of Japan’s underperforming Aozora Bank from a fund linked to activist investor Yoshiaki Murakami and his daughter, Aya Nomura. This, combined with an earlier purchase, will give Daiwa a 24% stake in Aozora. The bank has struggled after a failed US commercial property venture resulted in significant losses. Daiwa and Aozora plan to collaborate in wealth management, real estate, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and startups. Daiwa’s investment aims to support Aozora’s recovery and capitalise on potential profits from rising domestic lending income. The deal, costing Daiwa approximately 27.9 billion yen, has led to a fall in Daiwa’s shares and a slight increase in Aozora’s stock.

Read the full article about Daiwa Securities’s investment in Aozora Bank.


3. People Moves: UOB, Julius Baer, JPMorgan and BOS

UOB: UOB named the group’s wholesale banking chief operating officer, Richard Maloney, the new CEO of Thailand operations, effective July 1. Maloney will succeed Tan Choon Hin, who will return to Singapore as deputy head of group governance, risk, and compliance. Maloney will focus on enhancing UOB Thailand’s digital capabilities, product range, and regional market connections, while Tan will focus on strengthening UOB’s risk management and governance. Concurrently, UOB Thailand’s head of retail and brand, Vira-Anong C Phutrakul, will become the head of wholesale banking and deputy CEO.

Julius Baer: Swiss wealth manager Julius Baer Group hired senior bankers from UBS Group and JPMorgan Chase to strengthen its business for wealthy Indian clients in Dubai.

  • Sanjay Advani, formerly from UBS, joins as a managing director and team head for Julius Baer’s global non-resident Indians (NRI) business. He also held roles at Credit Suisse, Societe Generale, DBS and Citi.
  • Nisar Sindhi, formerly from JPMorgan, joins as a managing director and senior advisor. He also held roles at Citi and ABN Amro.
  • Two other relationship managers from UBS will also join the bank.

This move aligns with the broader trend of global private banks increasing their presence in the Gulf region to cater to the rising number of wealthy clients.

BOS: OCBC’s private banking arm, Bank of Singapore (BOS), expanded its team with new hires to target the Southeast Asia (SEA) and non-resident Indian (NRI) markets.

  • Billy Wendy Kusnadi, who comes from Credit Suisse, joins as a team head for SEA clients, especially in Singapore and Indonesia. Kusnadi also worked at Standard Chartered and Citi.
  • Joseph Sim, who also comes from Credit Suisse, joins as a senior relationship manager for ultra-high-net-worth clients in Indonesia.
  • Balaji Dhakshinamoorthy and Narayanan Vaidyanathan have been hired as senior relationship managers for the NRI market. They previously served at CA Indosuez Switzerland and BNP Paribas, respectively.

BOS plans to have 500 relationship managers by the end of 2025 and has already seen a 10% increase in its Singapore office staff in 2024.

JPMorgan: JPMorgan Chase’s head of M&A for SEA, Johannes Roth, resigned to join Citigroup. Roth is currently on gardening leave and will take on a role at Citi as director of SEA-focused sector coverage, including oil and gas. Roth’s career began at JPMorgan in 2008, with various roles in Frankfurt, London, and Hong Kong. He then served at Noble Group before returning to JPMorgan. He became head of SEA M&A in 2022. The Asia-Pacific (APAC) M&A market saw US$235 billion in completed deals this year, with JPMorgan ranking fourth in the region.

Read the full article about UOB Thailand’s chief executive.

Read the full article about Julius Baer’s UBS and JPMorgan hires.

Read the full article about the departure of JPMorgan’s SEA M&A head.


Investment, PE & VC News

private equity and venture capital deals

1. Market Sentiments

i. Asian Investors Rush for Gold Despite Near Record-High Prices

Demand for gold in Asia is increasing despite near-record high prices, as buyers turn to the metal as a hedge against geopolitical and economic uncertainties. Spot gold is trading at over US$2,300 per ounce, up 12% year-to-date. Analysts attribute the demand to lower confidence in other investment options like real estate and equities. There has been a notable increase in gold purchases iin Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Chinese buyers are particularly active due to currency devaluation, real estate downturns and trade tension. Meanwhile, Vietnam is expected to allow companies to import gold for the first time in over a decade to address the major price gap between local and international gold prices. However, demand in India and Australia remains sensitive to high prices, with India’s gold imports expected to fall significantly in 2024.

Read the full article about Asia investors’ interest in gold.

Read the full article about Vietnam’s gold import.


ii. Interest Grows in China’s Secondary Private Equity Market

Global investors are increasingly turning to China’s secondary private equity market as a way to gain exposure to the region amid US-China tensions and low market valuations. This market allows for the buying and selling of existing investor commitments to private equity funds, offering diversified and seasoned investments with quicker liquidity turnover. Despite a drop in transaction volume last year, the market has shown significant growth over the longer term. Interest from Asian and Middle Eastern investors remains strong. However, cautious optimism persists as industry players monitor the market for when exits restart. Sectors like healthcare, logistics, consumer products, and technology are particularly attractive. Meanwhile, cash-strapped Chinese property developers are also selling private equity and core real estate assets, which presents further opportunities. As exits in the primary market become more challenging due to macroeconomic conditions, secondary funds provide a longer runway for assets that are unable to list or make trade sales.

Read the full paid article about the popularity of China’s secondary private equity market.


iii. Business Confidence Increases for Fourth Straight Quarter in Singapore

Local business sentiment in Singapore has been rising for four consecutive quarters. In a report by the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB), the business optimism index rose to 4.94 percentage points for Q3 2024, up from 4.82 points in Q2 and reflecting a year-on-year improvement from 3.98 points in Q3 2023. The construction, transportation, and financial industries showed strong optimism. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector remained subdued, and the wholesale sector saw a slight improvement.

Read the full article about business sentiments in Singapore.


2. Business Moves

i. Standard Chartered Launches First Global Fund Management Entity in Singapore

Standard Chartered launched its first variable capital company (VCC) in Singapore, named Standard Chartered Funds VCC (SC Fund). This new entity will allow the bank to create a series of funds tailored for high-net-worth (HNW) clients, providing exclusive access to custom investment strategies managed by industry-leading global fund managers, which are typically difficult to access. The funds will focus on long-term strategic asset allocation and diversification. The funds will first be available to accredited and professional investors in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Dubai before extending to other key markets.

Read the full article about Standard Chartered’s VCC in Singapore.


ii. Government-Owned HKIC to Start Investing In Tech, Biotech and New Energy

The Hong Kong Investment Corporation (HKIC), a government-owned entity managing HK$62 billion, will make its first investments in technology, biotechnology, and new energy start-ups this month. This move aims to strengthen Hong Kong’s innovation and technology sectors for sustainable economic development. Its initial investments include a partnership with home-grown AI unicorn Smartmore, which involves establishing an AI talent training academy and collaborating on development projects in the Greater Bay Area. Established in October 2022, HKIC manages four funds:

  • HK$30 billion Co-Investment Fund.
  • HK$32 billion Hong Kong Growth Portfolio.
  • HK$5 billion Strategic Tech Fund.
  • HK$5 billion Greater Bay Area Investment Fund.

The HKIC will also manage a fund for the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme (CIES). HKIC aims to fill funding gaps for start-ups between the early and pre-IPO stages and will promote technology use through events and conferences.

Read the full paid article about HKIC’s investment areas.


iii. Carlyle Eyes Investments in 300 Japanese Businesses Amidst PE Deals Boom

Carlyle Group is exploring around 300 Japanese businesses as part of its deal pipeline, signalling a robust private equity market in Japan. Japan has become Asia’s largest private equity market, with a transaction value of approximately 5.9 trillion yen in 2023, driven by management buyouts and the growing acceptance of selling to private equity firms. Carlyle aims to announce two or three new transactions in Japan this year and will focus on investments in general industries, consumer and healthcare, and technology, media, and telecommunications. It currently has about 100 potential projects in the pipeline per sector. It also recently raised 430 billion yen for its fifth Japan buyout fund, the largest of its kind, which generated significant interest from global investors.

Read the full article about Carlyle’s interest in Japanese businesses.


iv. BlackRock to Offer Japanese Investments to Global Clients and Grow Local Team

BlackRock’s Japan unit announced plans to expand its investment options for overseas clients and to continue growing its staff in Japan. The announcement comes after it increased its staff, including portfolio managers, analysts, and strategists, by about 20% since last year. Traditionally, the unit has focused on offering overseas investments to Japanese clients. However, the unit expects a boost in asset allocation in the country following changes in corporate governance and a push for decarbonisation in Japan.

Read the full article about BlackRock’s plans to grow in Japan.


v. Aramco’s Mubadala Invests in Dubai Real Estate Fintech

Dubai-based digital real estate investment platform Stake has raised US$14 million in a Series A round. The funding was led by Middle East Venture Partners, with contributions from Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed Ventures, Mubadala Investment Co, and Republic. Stake plans to use part of the funds to expand into Saudi Arabia and become the first platform enabling international investments in the kingdom’s real estate market. It also plans to triple its headcount by the end of 2024. Since its 2021 launch, Stake has raised $13 million in earlier funding rounds and purchased over 200 properties valued at 355 million dirhams. The platform’s growth aligns with the booming real estate markets, fuelled by rising prices, economic transformations, the opening up to foreign ownership, and pent-up local demand.

Read the full article about Mubadala’s investment in Stake.


3. People Moves: Azimut, Paragon CM, Franklin Templeton and Pictet

Azimut: Andrew Ang is joining Azimut Investment Management as head of institutional and wholesale Asia in Singapore, bringing 30 years of experience in institutional investment, wealth management, and banking. Ang previously served at various organisations, including UOB, Pioneer Investments, Merrill Lynch Banque Suisse, and KraneShares. Ang will be the first member of the team based in Asia and will focus on enhancing Azimut’s presence and product showcase in the region.

Paragon CM: Paragon Capital Management (PCM), a Singapore-based boutique asset manager, hired two former private bankers to head its new Hong Kong office:

  • Arthur Fong, a 30-year financial veteran and former elected member of Singapore’s parliament, joins as the CEO. He previously served at the Bank of Singapore, Credit Suisse, UBS, and Citi Private Bank.
  • Faye Ng joins as the COO. Ng previously served at VP Wealth Management, Pictet, and Julius Baer.

The new office will provide investment insights, wealth preservation, family succession planning, private markets, and corporate advisory services targeting North Asia.

Franklin Templeton: Franklin Templeton hired former BNP Paribas Wealth Management managing director Gaurav Bathija as head of private banks and family offices, effective May 27. The new position is based in Singapore. Bathija will be responsible for expanding the firm’s private banking and family office network across Asia, deepening client engagement and building new relationships with private banks and HNW channels. Bathija has over 25 years of experience in capital markets, private equity, and private banking. He also held roles at JP Morgan and Citi Private Bank, where he focused on family offices and financial sponsors.

Pictet: Pictet Asset Management hired Da Seul Lee as the new team lead for Korea sales. Lee will be based in Hong Kong. Lee previously served as director for Korea institutional, global distribution at T. Rowe Price in Singapore. He has 14 years of experience and held positions at BlackRock, Korea Investment & Securities, and LG Electronics.

Read the full article about Franklin Templeton’s executive from BNP.


Legal News

law firm moves

1. People Moves: Dentons, Gibson Dunn, Fangda and DOCVIT

Dentons: Global law firm Dentons bolstered its M&A and capital markets team in Hong Kong with the addition of Derchert’s Stephen Chan as a partner. Chan has over 20 years of experience and specialises in corporate transactions, including M&A, private equity, REIT listings, restructurings, takeovers, IPOs, H-share listings, and compliance. He was also previously a partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, and Latham & Watkins and has served at Allen & Overy. This move follows Dentons’s recent series of partner hires in Hong Kong and brings their total partner count to 11.

Gibson Dunn: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has strengthened its global finance practice by hiring Daniel Abercromby as a partner in Hong Kong. Abercromby, previously a partner at White & Case, brings extensive experience in private capital financings across Asia, including leveraged and acquisition financings, direct lending transactions, and special situations investments. His clients have included private equity funds and digital infrastructure firms. Abercromby’s career includes roles at White & Case, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, Kirkland & Ellis, Allen & Overy, and Mayne Wetherell. Gibson Dunn has been expanding its presence in Asia, recently adding Jocelyn Williams, former head of Deutsche Bank litigation and regulatory enforcement, as of counsel in Hong Kong.

Fangda: Fangda Partners hired dispute resolution expert Wang Feng as a partner in its Nanjing office. Wang, who previously worked at Tiantong Law Firm, has nearly 20 years of experience in civil and commercial litigation and arbitration. Wang’s addition is expected to enhance Fangda’s dispute resolution practice and cater to clients in the Yangtze River Delta and East and Central China. This hire is part of Fangda’s ongoing partner-level expansions this year.

DOCVIT: DOCVIT Law Firm strengthened its intellectual property (IP) and competitive law practice with the addition of Liu Haiping to its Beijing office. Liu, who has a background in law and engineering, comes from Han Kun Law Offices, where he has been part of the IP team since 2017. He specialises in patent litigation and has worked with clients in various sectors, including semiconductors, fintech, robotics, and medical equipment. His clients include companies like Apple, Samsung, OPPO, and Bitmain. Notably, Liu led a patent dispute involving a face detection system that made the list of the 100 most representative cases by the IP court over the past five years.

Read the full article about Dentons’s corporate partner from Derchert.

Read the full article about Gibson Dunn’s Global Finance partner.

Read the full article about Fangda’s disputes partner from Tiantong.

Read the full article about DOCVIT’s IP specialist.


2. Business Moves

i. First Heart & Faith Merges with Wintell

Wintell & Co’s Shenzhen branch incorporated First Heart & Faith Law Firm into its business, adding 17 lawyers to its team. This merger aims to strengthen Wintell’s presence in Shenzhen and the Greater Bay Area (GBA). The branch now includes nearly 30 lawyers. Among these are five equity partners, including First Heart & Faith’s co-founders Ocean Luo and Millers Miao.

Read the full article about First Heart & Faith’s merger with Wintell.


ii. The SHIAC Opens its First Offshore Branch in Hong Kong

The Shanghai International Arbitration Centre (SHIAC) launched its first offshore branch, the Shanghai International Arbitration (Hong Kong) Centre. This marks SHIAC’s move to globalise and integrate into the international arbitration community. The Hong Kong Centre operates as an independent arbitration institution under Hong Kong law, leveraging the city’s common law jurisdiction and welcoming attitude towards arbitration. The Centre implemented a fee-charging mechanism aligned with Hong Kong’s arbitration practices. It is preparing to be included in the list of Hong Kong arbitration institutions under the PRC-HK Arrangement on Interim Measures.

Read the full article about the launch of the SHIAC.


Healthcare & Life Sciences News

pharma deals and clinical trial developments

1. Business Moves

i. Kunming Pharma to Acquire 51% Stake in CR Sanjiu Subsidiary

Following CR Sanjiu’s acquisition of KPC Pharmaceuticals, Kunming Pharma plans to acquire a 51% stake in China Resources Kunming Shenghuo Pharmaceutical from CR Sanjiu. This acquisition aims to streamline the market presence of the Xuesaitong Soft Capsule, a major cardiovascular drug produced by both companies, thus resolving internal competition.

The prices of Chinese medicinal materials are subject to significant fluctuations in the economy and environment. The inherent uncontrollability of Chinese medicinal materials forces traditional Chinese medicine enterprises to address issues to enhance supply chain stability and reduce costs, and KPC and CR Sanjiu are no exceptions. As such, the acquisition is also part of a broader strategy to consolidate and strengthen the supply chain for Sanqi (Panax notoginseng), the main ingredient in the Xuesaitong products.

Read the full Chinese analysis of Kunming Pharma’s plans to acquire a stake in CR Sanjiu’s subsidiary.


ii. Trastuzumab® Becomes the First Chinese Monoclonal Antibody to Enter the Middle East

Henlius announced the shipment of its self-developed biosimilar drug Trastuzumab® (marketed as HERCESSI™ in the US and Zercepac® in Europe) to Saudi Arabia. This shipment marks the first time a Chinese-made monoclonal antibody biosimilar will enter the Middle Eastern market. Trastuzumab® has been approved and launched in over 40 countries, including the US, UK, France, Germany, and Australia. Henlius plans to expand Trastuzumab®’s reach by partnering with global biopharmaceutical companies to cover approximately 100 countries and regions worldwide.

Read the full Chinese article about Henlius’ biosimilar drug.


iii. Coherus and Junshi’s Loqtorzi Nears Second FDA Approval for Advanced Liver Cancer

Junshi and Coherus’ PD-1 inhibitor, Loqtorzi (toripalimab), comes closer to gaining approval for a second indication in the US eight months after its first approval. A phase 3 trial demonstrated that Loqtorzi, combined with Avastin (bevacizumab), significantly improved progression-free survival and overall survival in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The trial also met secondary endpoints without new safety issues. Junshi plans to seek approval for Loqtorzi in HCC soon. With a larger potential market in HCC, which accounts for 90% of liver cancer cases, Loqtorzi could see significant growth.

Read the full article about Coherus and Junshi’s liver cancer trial.


2. People Moves: Bayer, GE Healthcare and J&J

Bayer: Bayer’s SVP and Global Head of Biotech, Jens Vogel, PhD, has departed after four years. Vogel, who joined Bayer in 2020 to lead its global biotech network, is taking a break before pursuing new opportunities. His exit comes as Bayer undergoes organisational restructure. Bayer’s new Global Head of Biologics Manufacturing, Tina Self, has confirmed that Vogel’s former role has been dissolved as part of a shift towards a more capability-based organisational structure. This restructuring aims to reduce bureaucracy, increase agility, and improve manufacturing capabilities.

GE Healthcare: GE HealthCare is restructuring its leadership and realigning its segments. The image-guided therapies unit, previously held under the organistion’s Imaging banner, will merge with the Ultrasound division. The current president and CEO of Ultrasound, Roland Rott, will lead the Imaging segment, replacing Jan Makela, who is set to depart. Philip Rackliffe, the current head of image-guided therapies, will oversee the combined Ultrasound and IGT group. These changes, effective from July 1, aim to integrate clinical applications better and enhance customer impact. The Imaging segment will remain GE HealthCare’s largest business. This comes after GE HealthCare recently increased its investments in the Chinese market, including forming partnerships and starting new projects.

J&J: William Hait, MD, PhD, Executive Vice President and Chief External Innovation and Medical Officer at Johnson & Johnson, will retire in September after 17 years with the company. Hait joined J&J in 2007 as senior vice president and head of haematology and oncology at Janssen. He served as global head of innovative medicine R&D from 2011 to 2018 and again as interim head from 2022 to 2023. During his tenure, Hait’s team launched over 20 new products, including Imbruvica, Tremfya, and Zytiga. Before J&J, Hait was the founding director of the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

Read the full article about the departure of Bayer’s biotech head.

Read the full article about GE Healthcare’s leadership reshuffle.

Read the full Chinese analysis of GE Healthcare’s leadership reshuffle.

Read the full news about the departure of J&J’s CMO.


Luxury & Retail News

sportswear, retail and e-commerce industry trends

1. Trends

i. Chinese Consumers’ Search for Identity Drives Demand Premium Sportswear

Premium sportswear brands are growing significantly in China, driven by post-pandemic health and wellness trends among middle-class consumers engaging in activities like yoga, hiking, and running. The Chinese sportswear market, the world’s second-largest, is expected to grow by 7% in 2024, reaching US$59 billion. This growth is expected to be particularly advantageous for higher-end brands like Lululemon and niche sneaker makers On and Hoka, whose marketing approaches resonate well with Chinese consumers. Brands like On and Hoka, Nike, and Adidas have reported growth and optimism about the market.

Read the full article about China’s interest in premium sportswear brands.


ii. Fashion Brands with Gen Z-focused Strategies See MIV Growth

Gen Z is reshaping fashion marketing, compelling luxury, premium, and mass market brands to adjust their strategies, according to a Launchmetrics report. Luxury brands have seen significant Media Impact Value (MIV) growth. Still, premium brands experienced the highest MIV growth, with Kim Kardashian’s Skims soaring to the top, highlighting the power of embracing influencer culture. Calvin Klein and Coach remain top brands in the premium market, with Coach recognised as Gen Z’s favourite handbag brand. Mass market brands, particularly in sportswear, also saw strong growth. Shein, Nike, and Crocs saw increasing MIVs by adopting influencer marketing and fashion styles that appeal to Gen Zs. The influence of Gen Z celebrities and influencers, such as Léna Mahfouf and Kylie Jenner, has been pivotal in driving brand engagement and fashion trends.

Read the full article about Launchmetrics’s findings on the fashion industry.


2. Business Moves

i. Watsons to Boost In-Store Experience Across Asia with US$250m Investment

Watsons is investing US$250 million to upgrade and expand 6,000 stores across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. By the end of 2024, over 3,800 stores will be enhanced, including 1,200 new openings and 4,800 refits. This investment aims to improve the shopping experience with redesigned interiors and new services such as spa and health consultations. Some examples include Watsons Pink in China, colour analysis makeup zones in Taiwan, experiential zones in Malaysia, and personalised health consultation zones in Hong Kong and Thailand.

Read the full article about Watson’s plans to upgrade its stores.


ii. Marc Jacobs to Enter Partnership with Sephora After Closing Tmall Store

Marc Jacobs’ official Tmall flagship store announced its closure, effective June 30. The store has 626,000 followers and 18 SKUs, with the bestselling Daisy Eau de Toilette exceeding 2,000 units sold. This change came after the successful launch of Marc Jacobs fragrances in the Chinese market. After closing its Tmall store, Marc Jacobs will collaborate exclusively with Sephora, leveraging Sephora’s extensive network and operational experience in China, a key market for Coty. Sephora’s reach spans 102 cities with 349 physical stores and multiple online channels, covering most of the country. Marc Jacobs’ move to Sephora aligns with Sephora’s strategy of exclusive brand partnerships. In August 2023, Coty extended its licensing agreement with Marc Jacobs for over 15 years, incorporating Marc Jacobs Beauty into its portfolio. The new agreement is expected to expand Coty’s market advantage.

Read the full Chinese analysis of Marc Jacob’s closure of its Tmall store.


3. People Moves: LVMH, Calvin Klein and Kering

LVMH:  French billionaire Bernard Arnault promoted his son Frédéric to head one of the family-holding companies controlling LVMH. Frédéric, who recently became CEO of LVMH Watches, will replace Nicolas Bazire as managing director of Financière Agache. This move follows the appointment of his brother Alexandre to the LVMH board, joining their older siblings Delphine and Antoine. Bernard Arnault, 75, is preparing for succession by placing his children in key roles, though he has no immediate plans to step down. Delphine heads Dior, Antoine oversees image and sustainability, Alexandre is a senior executive at Tiffany & Co., and Jean manages watchmaking at Louis Vuitton. Family appointments have increased since early 2023, alongside reshuffles among senior external managers to facilitate a smooth generational transition.

Concurrently, Cecile Cabanis was appointed deputy finance director to assist and eventually succeed its long-time CFO, Jean-Jacques Guiony. Cabanis, a former CFO of Danone and current deputy CEO of Tikehau Capital, will also join LVMH’s executive committee.

Calvin Klein: Calvin Klein, Inc. appointed Lila Staab as senior vice president (SVP) of brand communications and culture, effective June 10. Staab will oversee global entertainment relations, events, and integrated communications strategies to improve brand visibility and consumer engagement. Staab brings over 20 years of experience from roles at Gucci, Giorgio Armani, and a previous stint at Calvin Klein.

Kering: Kering announced the creation of the Kering Brand Director role to enhance its global visibility and control its image. Laurent Claquin, a long-time executive with the company and current President of Kering Americas, will take on this new role starting July 1, 2024, and will also join the Group’s Executive Committee. He will focus on defining and coordinating Kering’s communications strategy internally and externally across regions. He will also support the communication efforts of Kering’s fashion, leather goods, jewellery, beauty, and optical brands.

Read the full article about Frédéric Arnault’s promotion.

Read the full article about Calvin Klein’s brand SVP.

Read the full article about Kering’s brand director.


Tech & Semiconductor Industry News

hi-tech and ai industry deals and fundraising

1. Trends

i. Siltronic Open Facility in Singapore and Create Jobs, Joining Peers in Local Expansion

A German semiconductor materials supplier, Siltronic, opened a $2.9 billion advanced manufacturing facility in Tampines, Singapore. The move comes amidst increasing demand for semiconductors driven by AI and digitalisation. This plant, Siltronic’s third in Singapore, will introduce new silicon wafer epitaxy capabilities to enhance electrical conductivity. The plant expects to double its workforce to 600 by 2028. The opening of Siltronic’s plant follows recent expansions by other semiconductor firms in Singapore, including Applied Materials and Silicon Box, which are also creating jobs in the sector.

Read the full article about Siltronic’s Singapore facility.


ii. Porsche Makes Surprise Entry into China’s Venture Capital Scene

Porsche made an unexpected entry into China’s venture capital (VC) scene by partnering with CCIC Private Equity Investment Management to establish the CICC Porsche (Shanghai) Venture Capital Investment Partnership. Porsche will hold a 30.5% stake, while CICC will manage the fund. The 8.52 billion yuan fund will focus on startups in the new energy and intelligent vehicles sector. The partnership marks Porsche’s first collaboration with a leading Chinese financial institution and aligns with its global strategy to support automotive innovation and expand its presence in the Chinese market. This reflects a broader trend where automotive giants like Geely, BYD, and Changan are increasingly involved in VC to enhance their technological capabilities and secure an edge.

Read the full article about the CCIC Porche Fund.

Read the full Chinese article about the CCIC Porche Fund.


iii. Chinese AI Social Media Apps Grow in Popularity Abroad

Chinese AI companies are experiencing increased demand for their social media applications in international markets despite slower adoption in the mainland. Shanghai-based MiniMax, backed by Alibaba, exemplifies this trend with its popular Talkie app. Talkie saw significant growth in the US, more than doubling its traffic in May, while its Chinese version, Xingye, lagged behind. Talkie ranked among the top six entertainment apps on Apple’s US App Store, whereas Xingye ranked between 29th and 8th in China’s social networking category. This disparity highlights the challenges Chinese AI firms face domestically, where tech giants dominate the market. Tencent Music Entertainment also announced it will focus its Weiban AI chatbot on overseas markets. Founded in 2021, MiniMax is one of China’s leading new AI companies, alongside Baichuan, Zhipu AI, and Moonshot AI.

Read the full paid article about the growing popularity of Chinese AI social media apps.


2. Business Moves

i. OCBC to Grow Tech Team to Support Chinese Firms Working with ASEAN

OCBC Bank is expanding its software engineering team in China, adding 300 engineers to its existing 400 over the next three years, primarily in Shenzhen. This expansion aims to enhance the bank’s tech capabilities and corporate banking operations to better serve customers in Greater China and SEA looking to enter new markets. The bank plans to standardise its digital systems and improve internal processes. Shenzhen, a major innovation hub, is home to many technology, media, and telecommunications (TMT)  giants like BYD and Huawei. The bank aims to develop a strong portfolio of these customers and eventually extend these capabilities to other major tech hubs in China, such as Beijing.

Read the full article about OCBC’s investment in tech.


ii. Spark Capital, Jared Leto Fund Chinese Millennial Entrepreneur’s AI Startup Pika

Millennial entrepreneur Demi Guo secured US$80 million in Series B funding for her company, Pika, led by Spark Capital. This raises Pika’s valuation to over US$470 million. Pika’s software can generate and edit 3D animations and films from text, causing it to gain traction in Silicon Valley quickly. Besides Spark Capital, the latest funding round is backed by other notable investors like Greycroft, Lightspeed, Neo, Makers Fund, Jared Leto and Craig Kallman.

Read the full Chinese article about Pika’s fundraising.


iii. JBD Completes Pre-B Funding and Rose to the Rank of Unicorn

Shanghai-based Jade Bird Display (JBD) completed its Pre-B round of funding, raising several hundred million yuan. With this funding, JBD has officially joined the ranks of unicorns. Founded in 2015 by Li Qiming, JBD specialises in MicroLED technology, which is seen as a key solution for AR/VR displays due to its advantages in size, brightness, resolution, and power consumption. JBD has solidified its position as a leader in the field and received backing from various investment firms over the years. These include Spark Capital, Greycroft, Lightspeed, and Samsung Ventures. This round not only received continued support from existing shareholder Guangfa Qianhe but also attracted new investments from notable participants like Ant Group and Geely Capital.

Read the full Chinese analysis of JBD’s fundraising.


Stay Ahead of Industry Developments with JC

Keen to discuss further about how to these market developments can shape your career or business operations? Schedule a coffee chat with consultants from our executive search firms in Singapore and China today. JC Consulting has years of experience providing clients worldwide with tailored HR and business consultancy services, with a special focus on critical APAC developments. We also have dedicated headhunter teams spanning multiple sectors, including:

Combining our experience and collective insights gathered across industries equip us to offer you a holistic perspective to take your career and business forward.